Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework - 2010

2.09 Housing tenure type

Page last updated: 26 May 2011

Why is it important?:

House tenure is associated with health outcomes including mortality and morbidity. People who own their own home typically experience better health than those who rent. There is a complex relationship between housing and health, and a number of inter-related factors. Housing tenure is also associated with socioeconomic status, with different levels of health hazards in the dwelling itself (e.g. overcrowding, structural problems) and the immediate environment (e.g. amenities, problems with crime) (AHURI 2010).

The health benefits of home ownership reflect the strong relationship between a person’s socioeconomic status and their health (Mullins et al. 2001). Home ownership is closely linked to higher incomes and longer employment, is indicative of a strong savings history and past access to credit, and also represents a secure appreciating asset that can be used against future borrowings (SCRGSP 2007). ‘Healthy homes’ is one of seven strategic platforms identified by COAG as a ‘building block’ that needs to be in place in order to comprehensively address the current state of disadvantage. A healthy home is a fundamental pre­condition of a healthy population.

Findings:

In 2008, based on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, it was estimated that 33% of Indigenous households were home owners or purchasers, 33% were private and other renters, and 32% were renters of some form of social housing. This can be compared with data for non-Indigenous households from the 2007–08 National Health Survey, which show that 66% were home owner households, and 29% were renters.

In 2008, it was estimated that 29% of Indigenous persons aged 18 years and over lived in households that were owned or being purchased, 29% lived in households that were rented from the private sector, 23% lived in a property rented from a state housing authority and 17% were renting from an Indigenous Housing Organisation or other community housing provider. In comparison, 65% of non-Indigenous adults were home owners, and 29% were renters. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, home ownership was higher for older age groups, increasing from 22% for those aged 18–34 years to 36% for those aged 55 years and over.

Rates of Indigenous home ownership increased between 1994 and 2002 and between 2002 and 2008. The proportions of Indigenous people and households in privately rented properties have also increased during these periods. The proportion of Indigenous people and households renting from State/Territory housing authorities has fallen significantly between 1994 and 2008. These falls were partially offset by an increase in community or cooperative housing between 1994 and 2002, but since 2004 these forms of tenure have also fallen.

Lower rates of home ownership among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reflect both the lower socioeconomic status of many households and also that some households live in remote areas on Indigenous land where individual home ownership has not been possible in the past. The pattern of housing tenure varies by remoteness. In 2008, in remote areas, 16% of Indigenous households were owned or being purchased compared with 36% in non-remote areas. In remote areas the largest category of housing was rentals through Indigenous Housing Organisations and other community housing providers (33%), whereas in non-remote areas this only represented 5% of Indigenous households. State and territory housing authority rentals were slightly higher in remote areas compared with non-remote areas (25% and 21% respectively), while private rentals were more common in non-remote areas (34%) compared with remote areas (20%).

In 2008, the Northern Territory had the lowest proportion of Indigenous home owner households (21%). The highest was in Tasmania (50%) followed by the ACT (48%) and Victoria (43%). There was a relatively high proportion of households renting from state/territory housing authorities in South Australia (34%), Western Australia (29%) and the Northern Territory (25%).

Implications:

There is a complex relationship between housing and health and inter-related factors such as overcrowding (measure 2.02) and infrastructure (measure 2.01). Housing tenure is influenced by socioeconomic status e.g. income (measure 2.08) and employment (measure 2.07), and communal tenancy arrangements in some remote communities.

The Australian Government provides direct support to Indigenous Australians to purchase their own homes through financial literacy support and assisted loans by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA). IBA operates two programs assisting low-income Indigenous Australians to buy homes: the Home Ownership Program and the Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Program.

In May 2010, an issues paper on Indigenous home ownership was released to stimulate ideas and discussion about how government, the private sector and Indigenous communities can work together to provide greater opportunities and real choices for Indigenous people to own their own homes. The Australian Government also released its draft Indigenous Economic Development Strategy for consultation in May 2010. The draft strategy outlines a framework for Indigenous economic development, with home ownership a key priority.

The National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing will support the supply of safe and adequate housing in remote communities. The reform includes standardised tenancy arrangements for all remote Indigenous housing that include rent collection, asset protection, repairs, ongoing maintenance and governance arrangements consistent with public housing standards. The initiative includes progressive resolution of land tenure on remote community-titled land in order to secure investment and home ownership possibilities.

Table 44 – Tenure type, households and persons, by Indigenous status, 2008

Persons aged 18 years and over
Households
Indig.
Non-Indig.
Indig.
Non-Indig.
Number
%
%
Number
%
%
Home owners:
Owned without a mortgage
25,232
8.7
27.3
17,460
9.9
29.3
Being purchased
59,180
20.5
37.9
39,811
22.6
36.5
Total home owners
84,411
29.2
65.2
57,271
32.5
65.8
Renters:
Private and other landlord types
84,866
29.3
25.3
58,822
33.4
25.0
State/territory housing authority
67,127
23.2
2.9
38,258
21.7
3.9
Housing co-operative or church group
*1,804
*0.6
0.3
*992
*0.6
0.4
Indigenous Housing Organisation/Community housing
46,062
15.9
. .
16,845
9.6
. .
Total renters
200,297
69.2
28.5
115,274
65.5
29.4
Other tenure types
4,619
1.6
6.3
3,436
2.0
4.8
Total stated
289,327
100.0
100.0
175,981
100.0
100.0
Tenure type not stated
1,610
-
-
990
-
-
Total (including 'not stated')
290,937
100.0
100.0
176,971
100.0
100.0
Source: AIHW and ABS analysis of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey 2008 Non-Indigenous data from the National Health Survey 2007–08

Table 45 – Tenure type, Indigenous households and persons, 1994, 2002 and 2008

Persons aged 18 years and over
Households
1994
2002
2008
1994
2002
2008
%
%
%
%
%
%
Home owners
Owned without a mortgage
10.9
10.0
8.7
12.7
10.8
9.9
Owner with a mortgage
10.6
16.5
20.3
12.8
19.7
22.5
Total home owners
21.5
26.5
29.0
25.5
30.5
32.4
Renters
Private and other landlord types
21.1
24.2
29.2
23.0
28.2
33.2
State/territory housing authority
33.3
21.2
23.1
34.8
22.7
21.6
Community or cooperative housing
16.5
24.2
16.5
11.0
14.8
10.1
Total renters
71.5
69.6
68.8
69.1
65.7
65.1
Other
5.2
3.9
1.6
3.9
3.7
1.9
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Source: ABS and AIHW analysis of 1994 NATSIS, 2002 NATSISS & 2008 NATSISS

Figure 93 – Tenure type by remoteness, proportion of Indigenous persons and households, 2008


Figure 93 – Proportion of Indigenous persons and households, by tenure type and remoteness, 2008
Note: Excludes tenure type ‘not stated’ and ‘Other tenure types’
Source: AIHW analyses of 2008 NATSISS
Text description of figure 93 (TXT 1KB)

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